Osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of joint pain, including in the shoulders. While there are over 100 types of arthritis or joint inflammation, osteoarthritis is by far effects the most people. If you are experiencing shoulder pain and you are middle-aged or older, there is a good chance it may be caused by osteoarthritis. However, there are other possible causes of shoulder discomfort – here are some signs that your should pain may be due to osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the “wear and tear” type of arthritis. While genetics and health conditions contribute to risks of osteoarthritis, overuse and injuries to the affected joint play a significant role. Shoulder arthritis is more common in people who have put excess stress on their shoulder joints, whether it is playing throwing or racket sports, or performing lifting and repetitive arm occupational movements.

Symptoms of Shoulder Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease that continues to get worse with age. You can have osteoarthritis developing for decades without any symptoms, then begin feeling the effects when you are older. Most osteoarthritis symptoms begin presenting after the age of 50, but some people with previous injuries or extensive stress on the joint may experience early onset arthritis. Some of the symptoms of shoulder osteoarthritis include:

  • Shoulder pain. The number one symptom of shoulder osteoarthritis is pain. If the arthritis is in the glenohumeral joint, the ball and socket, the pain is usually in the back of the shoulder. For AC joint shoulder osteoarthritis, the pain is usually on the top of the shoulder.
  • Reduced range of motion. The shoulder may feel still and have reduced range of motion – it can be very difficult to perform over-the-head tasks with the arm.
  • Popping, catching and crunching. People with shoulder osteoarthritis may experience a popping or crunching sound in the joint during movement. The joint may also catch or stop during motion.

If you have shoulder pain along with other symptoms of osteoarthritis, it is important to get a diagnosis. There are other possible causes of shoulder pain, including torn rotator cuff, fractures and muscle/tendon injuries. To determine the cause of your shoulder pain and the best treatment for relief, contact us at AC Joint Separation in New York to schedule an appointment with Dr. Steven Struhl.

Posted on behalf of Steven Struhl MD